Thursday, September 01, 2011

Matthew 23:16-22


16 ``Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `Whoever, swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever, swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.' 17 ``You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18 ``And, `Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.' 19 ``You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering ? 20 ``Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21 ``And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22 ``And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.

In verses 13-15 we saw that the legalism of the Pharisees actually served to shut others out of the Kingdom.

Jesus is saying, "You have brought evasion to such a fine art that it is possible to regard an oath by the Temple as not binding, while an oath by the gold of the Temple is binding; and an oath by the altar as not binding, while an oath by the gift on the altar is binding." The whole idea of treating oaths in this way, the whole conception of a kind of technique of evasion, is born out of deceitfulness. The truly spiritual man will never make a promise with the deliberate intention of evading it; he will never, as he makes it, provide himself with a series of escape routes, which he may use if he finds his promise hard to keep. For Jesus your oath is bound in two ways. God hears every word we speak and God sees every intention of our hearts.

This was legalism at its best! Legalism lurks around every corner with all of its man-made distortions. It's so tempting for us all and easy to slip into at most every level. Life is not that complicated. What is required for salvation? JESUS. What is required for holy living? JESUS.